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Many of us don’t give a second thought to the type of hair brush we use for our hair. For most people, their favorite hair brush is the one that they grew up with. But have you ever stopped to consider that you could be using hair brush types better equipped to deal with your kind of hair?
It may surprise you to find out that not all hair brushes are the same. The different shapes and styles offer more than just cosmetic differences between hair brushes, but functional ones as well. Some hair brushes are better suited for sensitive scalps; other hair brushes can get rid of tangles with a single swipe.
The hair brush market is one filled with niche products and various types, and getting the right one is crucial towards ideal hair treatment.
The $1.3 Billion Hair Brush Behemoth: Knowing Where to Start
Ever heard the old wives’ tale about healthy hair needing nothing more than a hundred brush strokes a day? Much of society is still surprisingly uninformed when it comes to treating healthy hair.
Dermatologist Rebecca Kazin specifically hits out against this myth, claiming that “Excessive brushing can ruffle the hair cuticle and cause breakage.” There are many things that the general public doesn’t understand about hair, and one of those is just how active the hair brush market is.
The hair brush market is a much bigger deal than you could ever imagine: it is projected to reach a US market value of 1.3 billion by 2022. It’s much more than just different shapes and colors that is pushing this industry forward. Rather, it’s the fact that more and more users are educating themselves about the nuances of different hair brush types, and are experimenting with more to find the perfect one for them.
The first step towards finding the hair brush for you is understanding your hair, and what you need most.
There are three major questions you have to ask yourself before looking for your perfect hair brush:
- What is your hair like? Do you have curly hair, wavy hair, straight hair, or something else? Is your hair’s texture heavy and thick or softer and fine, or somewhere in the middle?
- What do you want to achieve with your hair? Are you just brushing the tangles out of your hair in the morning? Are you trying to style curls, smooth flyaways, or perhaps do a blowout?
- What is the current state of your hair? Is your hair filled with tangles and knots? Is your hair dry and flakey? Are you brushing wet hair straight out of a shower?
Knowing the answers to these three questions is essential before you can find the perfect hair brush types for you.
You might also want to think about whether your hair has a certain issue that you are specifically trying to solve; in those cases, there are specific hair brushes designed to counter some issues.
For example, at Forbabs we offer the number one hair styling brush that helps people who suffer static electricity and frizz when brushing their hair. This is the first and only brush that counteracts static in hair, keeping your hair static and oil free. Check out our X-Static anti-static hair brush here.
Once you understand your hair and its needs, it’s time to learn the different types of hair brushes out there, and the pros and cons of each.
Is Your Hair Brush Type the Right Shape? Seriously. Is It?
First let’s tackle the most obvious difference between hair brushes in any store: their shape.
Surprisingly, the shape of the hair brush plays a much larger role than just the way it looks; it can determine its efficiency when dealing with certain types of hair.
Here are the three major hair brush shapes and their respective advantages:
- The Paddle Brush: The Paddle Brush is the brush with a large and flat rectangular or circular surface for the bristles. For the most part, paddle brushes sport softer bristles, either synthetic or natural, and they stand atop a cushiony surface that lets you push them in and out. The paddle brush is ideal for most textures, and is specifically suited for long straight hair. This brush works great for detangling, smoothing, flattening, and straight hair blowouts, but in terms of volume there are definitely better options on the market. And if you are looking for a good massage on your scalp, the paddle brush is your ticket.
- The Half-Radial Styling Brush: The half-radial styling brush is a curved brush in which the synthetic or natural bristles rest on a single side of the brush, on top of a cushion. When looking to style hair, this is the perfect brush for you, as it is great at adding volume to roots and either curling hair beneath or flipping hair on top. These hair brushes are usually best paired with a hair dryer to get the most out of adding waves to thick hair.
- The Radial Round Brush: As the name describes, the radial round brush is the hair brush in which bristles circle around it, allowing the user to curl their hair around the brush. Synthetic or natural bristles are found all around the brush, making it the best choice to shape hair into any kind of style you may need. It’s important to consider the size of the radial brush when purchasing it: small radial brushes are great for tight curls, while large radial brushes are made for luscious and smooth hair on the thicker side.
If this is too much information to remember the next time you go shopping for a hair brush, here’s one essential tip from Fadi Mourad, Vice President of the popular hair product company, Bumble and bumble: it’s all about whether you want to flatten your hair or add volume.
“Someone with coarse, dry, thick hair is looking for deflation rather than inflation—flat brushes are made for detangling and smoothing the hair down. Round brushes create body, lift, shape, and bend.”
It’s a Prickly Topic, But the Right Bristles Matter!
The bristles—arguably the most important part of any hair brush. Knowing the difference between the types of bristles is crucial towards finding the right hair brush for your hair, and with so many different bristles on the market, it can be easy to purchase the wrong type.
Here are some of the more popular hair brush bristles available:
- Natural Bristles: Natural bristles are generally more expensive than synthetic bristles, because they are softer and usually yield better results. Usually made from real boar bristles, natural bristles are key towards spreading out the natural oils produced by your hair, keeping it healthy all over. They are also great at smoothing hair cuticles, regardless of your hair type or texture. Natural bristles are a must-have for sensitive hair that needs a gentle touch. According to hairstylist Michael Dueñas, one of the best benefits from using a boar bristle brush is that it gives “hair that healthy, glossy shine.”
- Synthetic Bristles: The major pro here is that brushes with synthetic bristles are generally less expensive, and are better for treating hair with static. However, some poorly-made synthetic bristle brushes are inflexible; this stiffness means they can break your hair, meaning synthetic bristles are usually terrible for sensitive fine hair.
- Mixed Bristles: Mixed bristles try to get the best of both worlds: a combination of synthetic and natural bristles on a single brush, mixed bristle brushes aim to combine the detangling benefits of synthetic bristles with the natural oil spreading of natural bristles. When working with thick and coarse hair, mixed bristle brushes can often be the best choice.
Hair Brush Types: Specialty Brushes to Shed Combing Stress Away
Of course, there are also brushes that are specially designed to perform a certain function. Some of these brushes include:
- Teasing Brush: The teasing brush is made to tease hair, but be careful: teasing brushes can damage thin and fine hair, which generally requires more TLC. As teasing brushes usually require a lot of strokes to have any effect, it’s usually better to buy teasing brushes with natural bristles, to give your hair more comfort.
- Vented Brush: Brushes with vents make it easier to dry hair, as they let air pass from the dryer and into the brush, penetrating the hair from all sides. The best shape for vented brushes is usually round, as it is best for quick styling while still drying the hair. However, vented brushes aren’t great for hair that usually suffers static.
- Anti-Static Brush: There is currently only one official anti-static brush on the market, and that is the X-Static. The X-Static is the first solution for hair that regularly suffers static, and guarantees to remove any and all static present in hair by incorporating individual sheets in a single product. Check it out today—stop the static right now.
Healthy Hair: Not Just About Hair Brushes
As important as it is to make sure that you are using the right hair brush for your hair, remember that purchasing the perfect hair brush isn’t the end of your hair brush responsibilities. To make sure you have the healthiest hair you can have, it’s crucial that you educate yourself on everything else, such as the types of strokes, techniques, routines, and other hair care products. Start making your hair the best it can be today.
Hairbrush 101: The Mane Points